As a new dad and a physical therapist, I’ve got some tips for you to make sure your low back and body stay healthy when caring for your new baby!
- Adjust the height of the crib and changing table if possible.
- Start lifting weights and strength training to improve your lower back muscle tolerance to excessive forward bending.
- Incorporate more walking into your day (if possible)
To get more tips and tricks like these, consider joining our free low back pain facebook group!
If you’re wondering if you should sit down or lie down with low back pain, this article provides the definitive answer.
What are three things I can do to prevent low back pain after bending when caring for my new baby?
- If at all possible, adjust the height of the crib to a point where you can hinge at your hips and try to keep your back flat. This allows you to use more of your back muscles most effectively. However, sometimes, this isn’t possible due to cribs and bassinets that don’t adjust, or a changing table that isn’t at a great height.
- Start lifting weights and strength training. A great way to “battle-harden,” your back and the rest of your body is to lift weights routinely, 2x/week if possible to strengthen your back and other muscles associated with bending forward.
- Incorporate more walking into your day. I know that this is very difficult, especially if you are a mom and you’re breastfeeding, especially in the first couple of weeks. After you’ve gotten feeding down and have gotten into more of a routine, this is when starting to walk a bit more should be more do-able.
Why does back pain occur in new parents?
When new parents start developing back pain, oftentimes it can be associated with significantly more forward bending than you would usually do.
Bending forward to pick baby up, change their diaper, place them in their crib, pick them up from the crib is a lot of reps.
This is likely a lot more bending than most people are used to.
Overuse of a motion that you’re not used to is likely the most common culprit when it comes to lower back pain as a new parent.
I’ll share a mobility routine and strength training routine later on in this article that I think would be beneficial for all new parents, and, that only takes ~ 10-15 mins.
Is spinal flexion dangerous?
There is nothing inherently wrong with spinal flexion. But, just like any movement, if you do start doing it a ton and your body is not used to it, you can start to develop some symptoms.
Is it important to use the same posture and form to lift the baby every time?
No. It’s actually encouraged to use different postures throughout the day to lift your baby. The reasoning behind this is that each time you will be placing the stress on slightly different portions of your body, thereby distributing the accumulated stress and reducing risk for overuse.
As the saying goes “your next posture is your best posture.”
What 5 exercises can I do to strengthen my lower back?
I’m keeping the sets and reps as simple as possible so that you can follow them. If you’re going light, you can do these exercises every day. If you are a more advanced lifter, then of course you’ll want to take a rest day between bent-over rows, goodmornings, and deadlifts.
Supermans and bird dogs can likely be done every day as they aren’t as strenuous of movements (for some people).
- Bent over rows 3×10
- Goodmornings 3×10
- Deadlifts 3×10
- Supermans 3×10
- Bird dogs 3×10
Extension exercises are sometimes great for lower back pain and you should definitely consider them.
For some more information on how to change up your exercise routine and modify it if you have pain, you might want to check out this article.
What are three mobility exercises that you can do for your lower back?
- Childs pose 3×10
- Cobra 3×10
- Thread the needle 3×10
These are all great movements that I’ve found to be beneficial for my clients and for myself. The most important thing when choosing any movement/exercise is that it feels good and doesn’t make symptoms worse.
If you’re also having issues with standing and walking I’d encourage you to check out this article.
Are you not sure what you should be doing and need more guidance? Please join our Facebook group specifically for lower back pain and how to improve it, here.